A woman holds a cake with a 5 candle surrounded by smiling friends.

My 5-Year Lupus Diagnosis Anniversary

I cannot believe it’s been 5 years since I officially got my diagnosis. My lupus journey has been an emotional roller coaster, and I cannot believe these past few years have flown by. Not to mention navigating all this during a global pandemic. It has been a learning experience, but I am grateful to be where I am.

When I was first diagnosed with lupus

When I was first diagnosed, I was so lost. I was angry, scared, and anxious. I had so many doctor's appointments. I took so many pills. I had so many symptoms that I had to manage. I thought it would be a downward spiral, and my life would stand at a standstill. But slowly, things started to get better. With all the trial and error with my medications, we finally found a regimen that actually worked for me. I was taking fewer pills and fewer doctor visits. I was beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Lupus lessons

During these past 5 years, I’m so thankful that I’ve still been able to work full time and even got a promotion. I traveled to so many new cities. I got married to my best friend. I started a social media account to share my story with others. Of course, there are also things that I wish didn’t occur, like my multiple doctor's appointments and blood draws, CT and MRI scans, the whispers and stares of "you don't look sick," pneumonia, a kidney biopsy, a breast biopsy, and even a lumpectomy.

Navigating lupus through this pandemic was also something I never imagined. Dealing with lupus was hard, but dealing with it in the middle of a pandemic that is still ongoing made things so much more intense. I had to be very vigilant. In the beginning, I hardly left my house, and if I did go out, I would double mask. I was very cautious because I knew if I got sick, it would be 10 times harder for me to manage, and I might have even ended up in the hospital. Masks and hand sanitizer were my new best friends. Getting fresh air was such a reward at one point.

I am strong

These past 5 years have made me realize how much stronger I am. It was an uphill battle, and I continued to fight despite it being so hard. The first year of my lupus journey was definitely the hardest. I felt betrayed by my own body and just didn’t know how to cope with that. But, I soon did my research online. I talked to many doctors. I changed my diet. I incorporated exercise into my routine. The medicines started to work. I began to learn all about my body and knew when something just didn’t feel right. I learned how to advocate for myself. I talked to other lupus warriors and soon became inspired to share my story.

I know that this is just the beginning of my lupus journey, and there are so many things in life that I will experience. But, I am ready to take on this journey headstrong, no matter what lupus throws at me!

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